UA's Fictional Wine List

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by HiIslands, Mar 7, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    On yesterday's HNL-NRT flight the business class menu glowingly described 15 wines. But none of the champagnes, none of the white wines and only one of the red wines was on board. One out of fifteen. Instead, there were some very lack-luster substitutions.

    The flight attendant seemed resigned to the situation as not being unusual and strongly recommended I write a complaint to United customer service.

    My question to fellow MPers; have you had a similar experience, where most of the intl bus/first wines listed are not actually available?
     
  2. gregm

    gregm Gold Member

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    At least you can't get a 'fictional hangover'.
     
  3. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    The list is not fictional; i.e., it is a list, and you have it in your hands. The items contained in the list are merely aspirational. The wines on board were not substitutions, because you cannot substitute aspirations. As I have aspired to, and successfully met my aspiration to not fly UA in an international premium cabin for the past 2 1/2 years, I have not suffered the plight of having a mere aspirational list of wines on the list, and actually, enjoyed much of what was served, and if I didn't, it was happily replaced with another one of the various available selections on board.

    New and unexpected wines -----------------------------> Friendly!
     
  4. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    My last two BF trips featured... no wine list as part of the menu. Was your list in the dinner/lunch menu or offered separately?

    (I ended up ordering "one of the reds you seem to have on your cart")
     
  5. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    This was part of the lunch/dinner menu. They devoted four whole pages of it to describing wines, all except one of which they did not have. And the champagne and fume blanc they had on the cart were awful. So much for "one of the whites you seem to have on your cart". To their credit, the flight attendants seemed as unhappy about the situation (and all of the explaining they had to do) as the passengers.
     
  6. Flyer1976
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    Flyer1976 Gold Member

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    I just flew in BusinessFirst from IAD to DXB and they did NOT have any of the White Wines listed catered for the flight which was a major disappointment as they continue to be inconsistent with their onboard offerings...

    The Purser personally apologized to each passenger and encouraged us to write in about the wines if we wanted to.

    I am also in BF on the way back so I will report back on the catering.
     
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  7. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Delta used to do this with their "Vinum" list. They showed a number of third growths...in 20+ longhaul J flights with that menu, never found one even one wine remotely in that context being available.

    You don't fly a domestic airline expecting good wine. End of story.
     
  8. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I suggest you write United Customer Care about your experience. I just received an apology from them along with some miles. They said they were forwarding the issue to their Food Service Division.
     
  9. Flyer1976
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    The flight from DXB to IAD had two reds catered and one white catered this time that was on the UA BF Menu.
     
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  10. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    While not THAT bad, we have had similar - wines on the BFC, or GFC menu are just often not available, and when there have been substitutions, they have been bleak. It took 5 international flights, before we could ever find a listed Albariño, and the Champagne is more often Cava, or similar bubbles.

    These "missing wines" have been on SFO, or LAX to LHR, and then SFO to SYD.

    About 2 years ago, SFO to HNL had zero wines, as someone forgot to load them... :eek:

    Once, UA was working hard to provide some interesting wines, but that seemed to cease about 8 years, or so, ago. Now, someone sort of "phones it in."
     
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  11. HiIslands
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    Seems as if there is something of a pattern here. I wonder if UA Insider would care to weigh in on this issue?
     
  12. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    This reminds me of the first time I flew Lufthansa, in 2005. I was on an F award ticket from SFO-FRA-TLV, with the first leg on UA. When I got the wine list from the FA on LH, I asked her, quite politely, which of the wines were loaded that day. To me, this was a perfectly reasonable question, given that UA never had more than 2 of each of the reds and whites onboard. The LH FA looked at me semi-indignantly, and said, "Well, all of them, of course!" That was a fun flight.
     
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  13. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I have had the same experience on LH and it continues to the present. Late last year, when I expressed delight over a hard-to-find German wine, I found a bottle of it neatly wrapped and delivered to my seat as a gift at the end of the flight.
     
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  14. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Wow! Even on GFC we have NEVER had them all. Oh well, that is life, or so I guess.

    Thanks for shattering MY bubble. I need to get out more.

    Hunt
     
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  15. Bill Hunt

    Bill Hunt Silver Member

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    Now, I have had FA's "gift" me many wines, but then they ARE the few wines on the plane.

    Recently, we were flying US domestic FC on UA, and their "white wine" was the Two Hands SB from SA. My wife really wanted a Chard, so I negotiated with the FA for the Chard being served in the back, for a price. She handed my wife 4 btls. of the Chard, and refused to let me pay.

    OTOH, I have been in rear cabins, where the FA would sneak up to me, with wines from one of the forward cabins, and I greatly appreciated that generous gesture - especially if I was in steerage, and GFC had something good (long time ago).

    Going back, once UA really took their wines seriously, and then stopped. After the merger, it has not gotten any better, at least not on the routes that we have flown.

    Hunt
     
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  16. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Going way back, the FAs were even encouraged to give wine away. On a 4 segment RT, I'd often come home with 2 or 3 bottles, each wrapped in a tablecloth, sometimes with a thank you note written on it. So, between all the wine and the (what turned into) dust cloths, it was great!
     
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  17. ducster
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    ducster Gold Member

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    I remember that from the 90s! Actually, as recently as December 2011, I got a bottle on a SFO-SEA leg. I also started reminiscing about the Dom on board. First time I ever flew 1st with UA was on my honeymoon, and they were pouring Dom!
     
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  18. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    I noticed something similar in Global First SFO-HKG in January, though I didn't poll the purser on each listed choice so I don't have a formal count. It started when I chose a cab sauv off the printed list and he said we don't have it. Calmly, I asked "so, what kind of cabs do you have," he went back to his stash and promptly brought out a bottle of WHITE :(
     
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  19. redtailshark

    redtailshark Silver Member

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    Yes, this does seem ridiculous. I agree with most everyone above. It's always the same...last time in BF from LIM-IAH and before that BRU-EWR, a similar tale. Many wines on the list, some of which look and sound quite tempting...but always, when I explore: "I'm sorry Mr Shark, we don't have that one on board today..." Do you even carry the house red?! A3 and AV for example in J offer much better actual product in spite of much smaller menu claims. I suppose even the ultra-Dilbertian BA manages this better than UA.

    Jeff, Aaron - why bother printing such menus when it raises customer expectation but the actual delivery dashes these totally??
     
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